Mauritania - Country Commercial Guide
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Mauritania has a population of 4.8 million people, of which 1.9 million are internet users, making the penetration rate 41 percent, a growth of 17 percent since 2017.  Mobile telephone services, in contrast, have a penetration rate of over 110 percent as some, mostly urban, Mauritanians have multiple cellular phones.  In 2017, 41 percent of the population had access to 3G coverage, while 4G was nonexistent.  In 2021, mobile operators started rolling out 4G network in urban areas.  There are government plans to upgrade to 5G, but there are no details or timeline for this effort.  According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation, Innovation, and Modernization of Administration, the 4,000-kilometer fiber optic line that was completed in 2021 will eventually reduce the cost of internet services by 50 percent for fixed lines and 25 percent for mobile and encourage new market entry.  It will also increase internet penetration to 70 percent.  The capacities available to users have also increased from 54 gigabits per second (Gbps) in 2019 to more than 80 Gbps. 

E-commerce in Mauritania takes a unique approach compared to conventional platforms like Amazon or other websites. Instead, it predominantly operates through the WhatsApp application.  Local vendors and boutiques maintain WhatsApp accounts, where they showcase product images and provide detailed information. Transactions are facilitated through e-banking applications, with Bankily (exclusive product of the Banque Nationale de Mauritanie – local commercial bank) and Masrivi (exclusive product of Banque Mauritanienne du Commerce International – local commercial bank) being the primary contenders.  Notably, Bankily enjoys greater popularity among clients. Bankily, which serves as the e-banking platform for BPM bank, recently forged strategic agreements with international financial entities, including Orange money in Europe and Remitly in the United States and Canada. These partnerships enable seamless money transfers from European, American, and Canadian bank accounts directly into Bankily accounts, enhancing the convenience of e-commerce in Mauritania.